An Unexpected Trip to the ER and a Confession

My family and I had the pleasure of taking a short weekend getaway to a nearby beach town last weekend. It was the four of us, plus my parents and sister and brother-in-law. One weekend together staying in a quaint house should have equaled semi-rest and relaxation (after all, we had babysitters on hand); what we didn’t expect however was that it would also include a visit to the ER.

Hubby, the kids and the grandparents had settled themselves comfortably on a stretch of sand while my sister and bro-in-law had gone boogie boarding. I had been given the task of buying some beach toys because we of course had forgotten to bring our whole stash of shovels, pails and molds from home. I had just made the purchase and was returning my wallet to my purse when I decided to check my phone.

Three missed calls and one voicemail?!?! I had not even been gone for ten minutes. What could be wrong?

As I walked out of the store, I listened to the message from my mom and heard the worry in her voice as she said, “T dislocated his shoulder again! He needs to go to the hospital!”

My thought process went something like this:

AIYA! But they barely got into the water! It was probably a foreshadowing of things to come when T joked, “It was nice knowing you” right before he headed off towards the ocean. Oh dear! Where, what, how …?!?!

After a series of calls and missed calls, I finally reached my mom who told me hubby and the kids had driven our bro-in-law and my sister to the ER. I met up with my parents, and we decided to walk the 1.3 miles back to our rental house, two boogie boards and an unopened bag of sand toys in tow.

The thirty minute stroll (which could have taken twenty minutes had we thought to take a shortcut via a bridge) gave us a good opportunity to enjoy the warm sunshine. It also provided a rare chance for my parents and I to chat, just the three of us. So there we were, looking very touristy with Google maps open on my phone, walking single file up and down the narrow streets when my dad called up to me, “I told Mommy when you got married that I was worried it wouldn’t work out.”

Later on when I shared my dad’s confession with hubby, he also said, without batting an eye, “I was worried, too.”

Hm … Was I the only person who had optimistically naively thought our dating relationship, and subsequent marriage, would have a happily ever after?

Apparently, yes. 😉

You may be wondering what all the fuss was about? Well, let’s just say that hubby and I are very different in a lot of areas, personality and dating histories being two of them. Throw in some concerned family and friends to the mix, and well, you’ve got some legitimately concerned family and friends.

Looking back, I can say I was 100% sure of my decision to marry hubby. But frankly speaking, my confidence came from a lot of unrealistic notions of love and marriage. Beliefs such as: troubles will never come our way; we will always feel loving towards each other; and we’ll always have a happy relationship (yes, I’ve needed to wean myself from an “all or nothing” mentality over the years). What I learned in the days following our wedding was the complete opposite: all couples will face troubles; there will be times when you dislike each other; and there will be plenty of moments when you drive each other bananas.

Isn't this a cute group of bananas?

Isn’t this a cute group of bananas?

The years leading up to today have included many such doses of reality. But as an older friend at church (with eleven years of marriage under his belt compared to our one at the time) once told us, “It gets better.”

It does?! If so, when? And how? His comment left me with some doubt, but also with some hope.

But he was right. Marriage does get better. With time, you really get to know your spouse, his way of thinking, doing and planning (or not planning). You grow to trust each other more. You learn to not take things so personally. You try to become a better lover and friend.

The key is that it takes time. Time to change and to see change happen. So it’s important that we be patient with our spouses and with ourselves. Our marriages are a work in progress because we are a work in progress.

On that note, my dad followed up on his confession during our walk with this: “I see how happy your (and your sister’s) marriages are and I’m not worried anymore.”

Whew. 🙂

Here’s Alicia Keys’ song, “If I Ain’t Got You“, a sappy, but powerful love song. 😉

In what ways have you seen a relationship or marriage improve over the years?

P.S. Our brother-in-law got his shoulder relocated at the hospital (his 7th time!) and has now learned how to do it himself should it ever happen again. 😛

Living in the Electronic Age

I have a love and hate relationship … with electronics. I admit I have and often still do rely on them as a form of “parenting” (ie. entertaining the kids so I can cook), and I wonder how in the world parents ever got anything done before tablets, smartphones and apps were born.

The reason I dislike electronic gadgets though is because of how they have affected the world. We cannot go anywhere these days without seeing people’s eyes and fingertips glued to their palm-sized devices, whether they’re at a restaurant eating (sometimes with a table full of people all doing the same thing!), in line at the grocery store, at the library or playground, or even walking along the street. I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of doing these things, too.

I often wonder what my munchkins think of the society they’re growing up in. They have never known a time where people didn’t carry around portable electronics or have easy access to the online world. Once when hubby and I tried to educate them about the world we grew up in, we had the following conversation.

Me: When I was a kid, we didn’t have phones you could carry with you or iPads to play with. We didn’t even have computers or the internet. We read books and played with toys and board games.

Hubby: I played outside with my friends every day.

E (with a thoughtful look on his face): But did you have electricity?

Hahaha! Of course our son would believe we’re from the Dark Ages!

Image courtesy of moggara12/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of moggara12/freedigitalphotos.net

But would being from the pre-electronic age be all that bad? Imagine a time when preoccupied drivers were only defined as those who put on their makeup or chowed down a sausage egg McMuffin during the morning commute, not those who watched the latest trending YouTube video at a red light. Or a time when people actually made eye contact and talked to each other, not to Siri. Sounds like a much safer and personally engaging world, doesn’t it? 🙂

So, I am writing this post as a reminder to myself that we can live without electronic devices. That the first and last thing I do every day does not have to be checking my email or Facebook. That even though living in the electronic age can offer some convenience and sanity to me as a parent, I should not overuse it.

Because for those of us who are from the “Dark Ages”, we know it’s totally possible to survive and thrive doing things the old-fashioned way. It’s fun to talk to a friend (over the phone or in person) instead of sending a text. There is a whole world outside to explore with sunlight and fresh air and actual birds, not 140 characters, that go tweet. And kids can entertain themselves by making up stories, turning cardboard boxes into toys or playing a game of Go Fish.

On this last week of summer vacation, I’m going to try to unglue myself and the kiddos from the screen as much as possible. And we’re going to go enjoy the great outdoors and one another’s company, even if it drives us crazy (haha).

Here’s a very appropriate video featuring Bert (of Sesame Street fame) and Zachary Levi singing, “A Lovely Sunny Day“. I love how they use all sorts of electronic puns to make the song fun.

What memories do you have from living in the “Dark Ages”? Or if you were born during the electronic age, what would you do if you had to live in a world without the internet?

P.S. This post is a couple of days late because I chose to do other things while we were away on a short family trip this past weekend (ie. spend time taking a walk with hubby and talking with my parents). It was a conscious decision I had to make (and fight for mentally!) and I’m glad I made it. 🙂

The Twelve Days of Summer Vacation

I don’t know about you, but I’m still in full summer vacation mode with my two munchkins at home. We are now in the post summer school/VBS/relative-hosting part of summer and have entered into the What are we supposed to do for the rest of the month?! time. It has been, to put it in soap opera terms, an ongoing episode of “The Young and the Restless”. 😉 But all this time spent with E and C has inspired me to write a song.

Without further ado, here is the SAHM’s version of “The Twelve Days of Summer Vacation”. (Of course there are more than twelve days of summer vacation, but if I had done “The Eighty-two Days of Summer Vacation”, we’d be here till next year.) 🙂

On the first day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the second day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the third day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the fourth day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the fifth day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the sixth day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the seventh day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … seven requests for ice-cream, six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the eight day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … eight aches and pains, seven requests for ice-cream, six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the ninth day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … nine reasons to pray, eight aches and pains, seven requests for ice-cream, six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the tenth day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … ten fine lines, nine reasons to pray, eight aches and pains, seven requests for ice-cream, six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the eleventh day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … eleven grey hairs, ten fine lines, nine reasons to pray, eight aches and pains, seven requests for ice-cream, six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese.

On the twelfth day of summer vacation, my two kids gave to me … twelve days of memories, eleven grey hairs, ten fine lines, nine reasons to pray, eight aches and pains, seven requests for ice-cream, six books to read, five fights to STOP, four games of Uno, three rounds of Super Mario, two weary ears and a bounty of whine, but no cheese!

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The song for this post is Frozen’s “In Summer“, which I would recommend listening to with your kiddo(s) – it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your faces. 🙂

How do you keep your kiddos entertained during summer vacation? 

Choosing to Grin and Bear It with Kids

There was a cartoon picture going around the internet a while back that I really got a kick out of. It featured a bear and a rabbit and talk of “toilet paper”. I’ll include it here in case you haven’t seen it (and need a good laugh).

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Lest you think I am a heartless person, please know I’m not! I just appreciate the bear’s clever humor. 🙂

Speaking of bears (yes, this is my feeble attempt at segueing into today’s topic, haha) … have you ever thought about the different meanings of this word? There is of course “bear” the noun, which describes a “fuzzy, hairy, honey-eating, bunny-abusing animal” that we see in the pictures above. Then there’s the other, not-quite-so-entertaining definition. You know the one I’m talking about. Merriam-Webster defines “bear” the verb as meaning “to accept or to endure (something)”.

This makes me think of the idiom grin and bear it.

Have you ever had one of those experiences, the kind where you wanted to …

grit your teeth or …

scream or …

pull your hair out or …

poke your eye with a pencil

… but instead you held your feelings of annoyance and frustration in? If you have kids or work with kids, I’m sure you have.

That was me earlier this week when I was at the store with C. She had so graciously decided to accompany me instead of staying with hubby and E, even though I tried to make shopping sound like the most boring, un-fun errand possible. The truth was that she preferred my company more (aw!) and wanted to help me (doh!). Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy spending time with my rambunctious alter ego, however I consider walking up and down supermarket aisles to be a lot more “fun” when it’s done in the least amount of time and by myself.

So I knew full well what I was in for that day. What could have been a quick, 30 minute, in and out trip turned out to be a slow-as-molasses, “I’m aging as I walk” task. What made it painstakingly long? It was likely due to the extra minutes I waited for C to open each and every plastic bag (those things are hard enough for adult fingers to figure out!), the extra moments she spent counting each and every mushroom as she placed them in a bag, the extra seconds I spent picking her up so she could reach an item on a high shelf (that she insisted on getting for me), and the extra time it took for me to cup a plastic bag around my mouth and huff and puff into said bag until it became the size of a small watermelon. (Whew! That last bit took a lot of work.)

This was when I really understood what it means to grin and bear it. 

Choosing to have C tag along at the store meant slowing down my pace to match hers and taking a lot of extra time to teach and help her with various tasks … so she could “help” me. Now why would I want to do that? (By the way, this was a question I asked myself several times that day.)

The best answer I can think of is this: it was the sweet face that stared up at me in the produce section. The ears that listened intently as I pointed out the type of peaches to pick (slightly soft, but not bruised); the dimpled hands that struggled with determination to reach a box of pasta; the big brown eyes that watched in anticipation as I turned a plastic bag into an aerodynamic ball.

I decided it was better to grin and bear it than to squash my dear daughter’s spirit. And I’m glad I did. Because as one of my favorite verses says, “love bears all things”, which often means changing up my plans for my kids. That day it meant giving C an opportunity to learn life skills and even especially taking the time to have some fun while doing so (yes, we may have played a game of catch with the inflated plastic bag in the snack aisle). 🙂

I hope my experience can help you bear in mind (pun intended, haha) the benefits of choosing to grin and bear it with the little ones in your lives.

This post totally reminded me of a Disney classic, “The Jungle Book” and the song, “The Bear Necessities”. I like the line that goes, “Forget about your worries and your strife”.

In what ways do you choose to grin and bear it with your kids?

Dear Potential Readers of My Novella

Dear Potential Readers of My Novella,

It’s official! Today, my brand new book-baby, “Straight To You” is live on Amazon.com! In case you were wondering, this is how I feel … 😉

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First of all, if you do buy the book (or borrow it via the Kindle lending program), I want to say THANK YOU! 😀

If I could throw you a party …

The Adicts Party

or send you on vacation …

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I would! But please know you make me feel as happy as this doggie (without the scary fangs)!

smile dog

YOU are a big reason I wrote this book. If my words are able to make you laugh, cry or ponder – even for a moment in your busy, stressed-out, everyday life – then I’m a happy camper. 🙂

As promised, I’ve posted the first chapter of “Straight To You” on the “My Novella” page of this blog for you to read (click HERE). I hope it will give you a sense of what the story is about and help you decide if it’s your kind of thing (I won’t be offended if you choose not to read it because you are a sci-fi or horror buff, haha).

For those of you who like warm fuzzy romance books, I hope think you won’t be disappointed by Ashlynn and Jeremy’s story. And if you would be so kind as to spread the word to your friends or write a review on Amazon.com once you’re done reading, I would be totally and completely grateful! And give you a virtual hug. 🙂

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So, it’s time to celebrate because it’s Friday and “Everything is Awesome” (this cool video with Tegan and Sara’s song includes Australian Sign Language)!

What’s awesome about your day today?